Microsoft OEM or volume licence, that is the question here. In our Weekly Hack, we explain briefly and concisely what the two different licence types are all about.

If you are thinking about using one or more PCs or MACs with new Microsoft software such as Office 2016 or Windows 10, you have probably already come across the terms OEM and Volume Licence. Most PCs and MACs today no longer have a DVD drive, so newer devices don’t have the option to install via disk. Licence keys are easier and more convenient. Here it is important to make sure that you buy from a reputable provider such as, which has also legally purchased the licence keys. You can find more about this topic in our Software Guide.

Now you have to decide whether an OEM key or a volume licence is the right choice for your needs. Find the answers here:

What is an OEM licence?

OEM stands for „Original Equipment Manufacturer“ and means that the licence was originally created for a complete system. For example, you can always find complete systems at large discounters like Aldi, but even if you enter the next technology market like PC World, PCs with pre-installed Windows and Office software will be offered to you.

But does an OEM licence work for my PC or MAC at all?

Even if an OEM licence was originally intended for a certain complete system, the resale of these licences is permitted in Germany. This has been officially confirmed by both the European Court of Justice and the Federal Supreme Court in 2012 and 2013. If we buy OEM licences from, we can resell them to our customers without hesitation. The only important thing is that the OEM licence has been deactivated by the first user. However, this does not involve any effort from our customers, because we at make sure in advance that the corresponding licence is available.

When does an OEM licence make sense?

Whenever you only want to equip a single computer with a Microsoft product.

What is a Volume Licence?

A volume licence is, as the name suggests, a licence contingent for several computers. Volume licence products are not tied to a specific system.

When does a volume licence make sense

Especially if you want to install a Microsoft product on several computers at once, e.g. Office 2016 Home & Business. You can then use a volume licence for several PCs or MACs. This makes handling easier and you get lower prices if you want to equip several devices with Microsoft software at the same time.

Summary: As a private user, you usually don’t get into the situation of wanting to install Microsoft products on a large number of PCs or MACs. Then opt for an OEM licence. However, as soon as you want to equip several workstations, e.g. as a company, the volume licence is worthwhile. As soon as you have downloaded a licence on, you can use it immediately. All you have to do is download the corresponding Microsoft application free of charge.


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